Green backs youngsters to fire at Nines

Auckland Nines captain Blake Green believes this weekend’s tournament will give the Club’s young players the perfect opportunity to showcase their talent.

Storm will travel across the ditch later this week to take part in what will be the third installment of the rapid-fire, two-day competition.

The 18-man squad, boasting an average age of 22 years and four months, is made up of a mix of both experienced and younger players.

It is the latter group that Green believes will gain a wealth of experience at the Auckland Nines.

“I think it is great for the young guys to get out there in a great atmosphere,” Green said.

“There is generally a big crowd there, plenty of noise which is probably something they’re not used to.

“They also get to come up against some pretty special athletes across the NRL and test themselves physically and see where they are at.”

Assistant Adam O’Brien will coach the side while Green, the oldest player in the squad at just 29, will be skipper.

The Nines squad announced on Monday is the strongest the Club has sent over for the pre-season tournament – something the captain believes is a clear statement of intent.

“We are not going over there to make up the numbers. We are going to be as competitive as we can, just as we are every week in the NRL,” Green said.

“I think it will be important to be calm and collected out there. It is a pretty erratic game so it is easy for some of the young boys to lose their head a bit out there, that is probably the main thing I will try and bring.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to get out there and have a bit of a run around and a bit of fun this weekend at the Nines.”

Storm will kick off their Auckland Nines campaign against the Eels this Saturday at 12.55pm.